Bulk haulage specialist Cartage Australia is a company that is not scared of making dramatic changes to its equipment to gain a competitive edge, as seen with its uptake of Performance-Based Standards on a fleet fitted with V.Orlandi couplings.
At the Australian Road Transport Suppliers’ Association’s (ARTSA) Global Heavy Vehicle Leaders Summit in Melbourne this May, key speaker Brendan Richards from consultancy, Ferrier Hodgson, revealed what he believes to be the three main personality traits that contribute to business failure. Listing ego, greed and complacency as the most troublesome characteristics, Brendan said that while some transport companies in Australia struggle with these flaws, true industry leaders are getting it right.
One such thought leader is Cartage Australia’s General Manager, Ray Cauchi, who has been in the business of hauling quarry products since 1977. Far from becoming complacent with his fleet, Ray has never been one to ignore the potential of new technologies or opportunities to get more out of his equipment.
To help the business flourish in an increasingly contested market, Ray investigated if the Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme could give Cartage Australia a competitive advantage. Investing in its first PBS-approved truck and dog set – the first in Victoria – in 2007, the company has since become something of a leader in the high productivity scheme, with its entire fleet of truck and dogs approved to carry more payload on select routes. Arguably one of the largest fleets with that level of uptake, Cartage Australia boasts 65 PBS-approved truck and dog combinations all fitted with V.Orlandi E550 50mm tow couplings.
Both the couplings and the PBS scheme lend to Cartage Australia avoiding becoming complacent, with the heavy-duty Italian equipment replacing the components throughout the fleet as soon as it was launched in Australia. “We’d been using another brand of tow couplings and made the switch to V.Orlandi equipment when they came into the country about 20 years ago,” Ray reveals. “Rather than sticking to what we already had, we made the change and have benefitted from it ever since.”
According to Ray, upgrading to V.Orlandi couplings provided his fleet with longer lasting equipment that has also proven capable of the higher mass tasks of his PBS vehicles over the last nine years. “The V.Orlandi couplings are a lot more robust than what we had used previously, so we have found that they last a lot longer than the competition,” Ray says. “They’re also much quicker and easier to maintain and repair, it takes maybe half the time to replace wearing components such as pins and bushes.”
“The V.Orlandi couplings are a lot more robust than what we had used previously, so we have found that they last a lot longer than the competition.” Ray Cauchi
Cartage Australia does all of its tow coupling maintenance in house, giving Ray and his team of mechanics a thorough understanding of the couplings’ design. Far from the complacent characteristics Brendan warns against, Ray says that even with a product that has proven itself in Australia for two decades, V.Orlandi CEO, Gianpietro Mascialino, is always amenable to suggestions for improvements.
“I’ve met Gianpietro many times at trade shows and industry events, and he always listens to our feedback,” Ray says. “The best part is that he’s always happy to not just listen to our suggestions, but go back and make the improvements. Next time I see him, he tells me it has been done. It’s important to have the confirmation that we are valuable to V.Orlandi not just as a customer, but for our input.”
Working alongside Gianpietro is V.Orlandi General Manager, Simon Tortorici, who says that taking customer feedback on board is part of the company’s dedication to improving its products for the Australian market. “The E550 Pacific, for example, has been updated to boast a d-value rating of 330kN, while remaining the lightest coupling in the country at 42kg,” Simon explains.
With V.Orlandi continuing to make improvements to its Australia-specific catalogue of trailer components, Ray says he is confident in the equipment to keep his fleet on the road earning their keep. “The tow coupling is a vital part of the combination, it tows the trailers, and that’s where the payload is,” Ray says. “It’s not something you can afford to get wrong. We’re the type of company to make a change to the fleet if it will give a competitive edge, but we’re not going to change when V.Orlandi is giving us the perfect product. Not in this world.”